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What Happened to Windows 9?

written by: •edited by: Kait Krolik•updated: 8/19/2015

With Windows 10 being released to the general public in late July, many people are wondering just what happened to Windows 9, considering the most recent update was titled Windows 8.1. Are the great changes to how Windows works justifying the dramatic shift? Is this just a simple marketing ploy?

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    Here are some thoughts and theories about the number jump and the new OS:

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    Why the Skip in Number

    The change is attributed to multiple theories in the world and online:

    • It is noted that 9 is an unlucky number in Japan, and Microsoft doesn’t want to lose any of its user base in Japan due to superstition. Thus it jumped ahead to 10.
    • People like the number 10. Microsoft knew it needed to gain back the people’s confidence after the poor reception of Windows 8 and Microsoft thought that using the number 10 would help, if only just a little.
    • Perhaps Microsoft considers Windows 8.1 to be enough of an update and upgrade to Windows 8 that it is an entirely new OS in their eyes.
    • The change is meant to distract us from larger concerns we should have about the system. No one is going to talk about changed privacy policies and procedures if the public is focused on a name.

    While it could be one or any of these theories, it is more important to focus on the product instead of the branding.

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    Details and Concerns about Windows 10

    You’ve likely already heard of them, but there are a few features that Windows 10 is now known for. The most talked about one is Cortana, the virtual data assistant that is voice activated and is continuing to improve as time goes on. It is too early to tell about its usefulness, but it would be foolish for Microsoft to cut off its investment now. In addition to this is Microsoft Edge, the latest iteration of Internet Explorer to come shipped with a Windows OS. Finally, we have the number of menu changes and different settings that are far too numerous to mention here; although they are being well-received.

    Yet for all of the talk of improved functionality, the dark cloud that looms over Windows 10 seems to be its terms of service and the default settings of the system. The terms of service effectively give Microsoft the ability to collect any data they wish about your online life, threatening to heavily reduce the functionality of the OS if you do not let them (or use the OS at all if you do not agree to the primary terms and conditions). On top of this, the default settings for data collection are all set so that Microsoft can collect the maximum amount of data possible. These settings should be opt-in instead of opt-out, making many wonder what Microsoft’s motives are.

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    Do You Need Protection?

    These privacy concerns make one wonder whether you will be needing protection should you decide to get a free upgrade to Windows 10. While you need the standard security suite and good internet usage habits, you need to be more concerned about your data privacy than ever before. Cybercrime is a growth business, and the growing data collection by programs and services you use every day does not make things easier.

    Many who’ve discovered some of the concerning settings in Windows 10 are changing their OS settings in order to reflect their desire for privacy. You will want to use this helpful guide to lead you to which settings should be investigated. Try to consider your best interests and the ways Microsoft may use the information you give them.

    Many others are finally deciding to invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to protect their privacy. A VPN is a service that will connect your device to an offsite secure server using an encrypted, tunnel-like connection. This means that no one will be able to track your IP address and no one will be able to know what you are doing on a public network. While the service may only help you to a certain extent when it comes to Windows 10 (some data is connected to your Microsoft account), you will need every other bit of protection you can from hackers, cybercriminals, and unsafe public networks. This guide will help you set one up on Windows 10. You will also want to read some useful information on which VPNs are the best to maintain your privacy.

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    It Is Still Windows?

    Despite all of the brand new features and the new ideas contained in the OS (for better or for worse), it is still fundamentally a Windows operating system with the same general flaws and strengths as before. You have to worry about security concerns and privacy issues, but you have more flexibility than many competitors and nearly all programs are compatible with it.

    Most of the “new features” are really just an updated return to how things used to be. You will find more of Windows 7 in there than you will of Windows 8. It will come as no surprise when Windows 10 proceeds to come out with new updates (which you have to install) that mirror those done for older systems. It may be wise to wait and see what happens and stick with your old system for now.

    Windows 9 never technically happened, but what does that matter in the long run? Companies never really cared about naming schemes, and few consumers will really care in a few months. What matters is what we have now, with its strengths and weaknesses. Thank you for reading, and may you better be able to make a decision on whether to change over your system.

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    About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a technology enthusiast and blogger for Secure Thoughts, a great resource for online security tips. She enjoys writing about internet security and new and upcoming technology.